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23 Actors Who Found Playing Certain Characters Underwhelming, Demeaning, Or Just Overall Not So Fun

TIL Jeremy Renner wanted Hawkeye killed off in The Avengers.

Obviously, many actors adore the parts they play and feel a sense of kinship with them. But sometimes...actors are less than thrilled about playing an iconic character.

Pop TV

Here are 23 actors who had a bit of a hard time playing certain characters:

1. Evangeline Lilly as Kate on Lost:

Kate carrying a gun
Mario Perez / ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Lilly told The Lost Boys podcast that Kate was cool at the start but became worse as the show went on: "I felt like she became more and more predictable and obnoxious. I felt like my character went from being autonomous — really having her own story and her own journey and her own agendas — to chasing two men around the island. And that irritated the shit out of me." She admitted to throwing scripts across the room.

2. Blake Lively as Serena on Gossip Girl:

Serena at lunch
Giovanni Rufino / The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection

Lively called playing Serena "personally compromising," expressing concern about the message her character sent out, and listing some of the horrible things Serena did.

3. Jennette McCurdy as Sam on iCarly and Sam & Cat:

Sam in Carly and Spencer's kitchen

McCurdy told Teen Vogue that she was ashamed of many of the roles she took on as a teenager (the most famous of which is Sam): “I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing. I did the shows that I was on from like 13 to 21, and by 15, I was already embarrassed.”

4. Jean Yoon as Umma on Kim's Convenience:

Umma in the store with a calculator
CBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

In a series of tweets, Yoon called her experience on the show "painful," saying that co-creator Kevin White had much more control than Asian co-creator Ins Choi for much of the series and that some storylines and jokes were so overtly racist, she asked that they be cut.

5. Miley Cyrus as Miley/Hannah on Hannah Montana:

Miley looking serious and into the camera
Sam Emerson / Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Cyrus has talked about feeling uncomfortable playing Hannah Montana, especially after she turned 18 and had had sex, saying she felt "ridiculous" because she was "grown up." However, she now thinks back fondly on Hannah.

6. Penn Badgley as Joe on You:

Joe in his cage
Lifetime TV / Courtesy Everett Collection

Badgley has called his character "irredeemable" and talked about how conflicting it is to play such a horrible character. When asked what he would like to happen to his character, he replied, "Death." While he doesn't enjoy playing the character and says it takes a toll on him, he calls the experience a "deep, deep psychological exploration."

7. Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in The Avengers:

Hawkeye with his bow
Zade Rosenthal / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Renner stated that the Hawkeye he played in the first Avengers film was not "the character [he] signed on to play," seeing as his character was given very little backstory before being mind-controlled by Loki, a state he remained in for much of the film. In fact, Renner was so frustrated with his role that he would go around pretending Clint was having a heart attack to suggest to producers that Clint could be killed off. 

8. Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean in the Mr. Bean film and TV series:

Mr. Bean with his face smushed against a map
Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Atkinson has called playing Mr. Bean stressful and exhausting, stating that he doesn't enjoy it and that there's too much responsibility on his shoulders: "I look forward to the end of it," he said.

9. Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosie in Shallow Hal:

Rose standing next to Hal
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Paltrow said that the moment she put the fat suit on, she felt how demoralizing and offensive it was to play the character. She called it her least favorite role and a "disaster."

10. Shailene Woodley as Amy on The Secret Life of the American Teenager:

Amy at the dinner table
Michael Ansell / ABC Family / Courtesy Everett Collection

Woodley revealed she was happy to be free from her contract when the show ended, stating that while she was grateful for her years on the show, "Towards the end, morally, the things that we were preaching on that show weren't really aligned with my own integrity. So that was a bit hard to show up to work every day knowing that we were going to project all of these themes to thousands — millions — of young adults across the country, when in fact they weren't what I would like to be sending out."

11. Mark Hamill as Luke in The Force Awakens:

Rey meeting reclusive Luke

While Hamill certainly didn't hate playing Luke in the original trilogy, he was unhappy with the version of Luke that The Force Awakens introduced, even telling director Rian Johnson, "I hate what you’ve done with my character." He said after the film was released that this version of Luke was so different from the original trilogy that he had to think of Luke as another character: “Maybe he’s Jake Skywalker. He’s not my Luke Skywalker." He later apologized for these comments.

12. Alexander Siddig as Dr. Bassir in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:

Press photo for Dr. Bassir
Paramount Television / Courtesy Everett Collection

Similarly to Hamill, Siddig was upset with a later version of his character. When his character, Dr. Bashir, was revealed to be genetically modified, Siddig actively rebelled against acting "Data-esque" as the producers wanted him to, messing up lines on purpose until eventually they changed the character back a bit. He also distanced himself from the Star Trek universe after the show was over.

13. Ed Harris as the Man in Black on Westworld:

Ed Harris as the Man in Black, dressed in white

In another example of an actor not being thrilled with a later version of their character, Ed Harris talked about not being a fan of his character's arc in Season 3, saying, “You do what you gotta do. I mean, I signed on to play the Man in Black. I didn’t sign on to play the Man in White. So it wasn’t the most joyous season for me, I gotta say.” He also didn't like how he didn't know where his character's arc was heading.

14. Sarah Paulson as Audrey on AHS: Roanoke:

Paulson/Audrey in Roanoke

Paulson expressed regret over not asking to sit out that American Horror Story season, saying, “I just [didn’t] care about this season at all," and that she felt trapped by her contract and responsibility. She had just finished playing Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and found her experience returning to American Horror Story underwhelming compared with the work she got to do on that series.

15. Katherine Heigl as Izzie on Grey's Anatomy:

Izzie in scrubs
Scott Garfield / ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

While Heigl has stated that she didn't love everything Izzie said and did and wasn't a fan of storylines such as the whole ghost-Denny sexscapade, she's said that she was overall very passionate about playing Izzie. However, she also pretty famously withdrew herself from Emmy consideration in 2008, saying, "I did not feel I was given the material this season to warrant a nomination," although she's since expressed regret over this, saying that it was between her and the writers and a lot of it was about her own performance.

16. Robert Pattinson as Edward in Twilight:

Edward talking to Jacob
Summit Entertainment

Pattinson famously said that if he hadn't been in the series, he'd probably "mindlessly hate it without having seen anything." He also spoke about how strange the hype, fans, and series were, and when reflecting on photo shoots, he said it was weird "kind of representing something you don’t particularly like." He also joked that the only thing he'd stolen from the set was his dignity.

17. John Boyega as Finn in The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker:

John as Finn
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Lucasfilm / Courtesy Everett Collection

Boyega did not have an issue with the character himself; instead, he was upset playing a character of color who had been completely sidelined after having a large role in The Force Awakens. He (along with many fans) also felt that Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, and Naomi Ackie were similarly sidelined in the latter two films in the trilogy. "You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything," he told GQ. "What I would say to Disney is, do not bring out a Black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.” 

18. Ella and Jaden Hiller as Lily on Modern Family:

Michael holding and kissing Lily
Mitch Haddad / ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

The parents of the twins revealed that their children were initially cast after they answered a Craigslist ad, but that as their personalities began to develop into Season 2, it became clear they didn't like being on set. Their parents then pulled them off the show, despite being offered more money. 

19. Idris Elba as Heimdall in Thor: The Dark World:

Idris as Heimdall
Walt Disney Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

Elba called his experience of going straight into Thor: The Dark World reshoots from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom torture, describing his thoughts during a green-screen scene: "In between takes I was stuck there, fake hair stuck onto my head with glue … while they reset. And I’m thinking, Twenty-four hours ago, I was Mandela. When I walked into the set, the extras called me Madiba (Mandela's clan name). I was literally walking in this man’s boots. Then there I was, in this stupid harness, with this wig and this sword and these contact lenses. It ripped my heart out.”

20. Jessica Alba as Sue in Fantastic Four:

Alba as Sue
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Alba had such a bad experience portraying Sue — in particular while filming her character's death scene in the sequel — that she almost gave up on acting: “The director was like, ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? … Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.’” She said the experience made her question her instincts and feel like she wasn't good enough, and that no one wanted her to be a real person. 

21. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man/The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

Garfield in this Spider-Man costume
Jamie Trueblood / Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Garfield spoke about being relieved to be done with the pressure after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, saying, "You end up pleasing no one, or everyone just a little bit. Like, ‘Eh, that was good.’" He also said the films were mass-marketed, suggesting they catered to too many different audiences, though he understood they needed to make money. He said he couldn't live that way, calling it a prison to live with those expectations.

22. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine:

Reynolds as Deadpool in the film
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Reynolds wasn't stoked about his character in the film, but was allegedly told, “If you want to play Deadpool, this is your chance to introduce him. And if you don’t want to introduce him in this fashion, we’ll have someone else play him.” He said he had told the studio that fans wouldn't be happy with that version of Deadpool, which they later realized. Fortunately, he was able to play the character again in Deadpool and Deadpool 2, this time the way he wanted.

23. And finally...most of the cast of Glee:

Quinn, Brittany, Santana, Kurt, Mercedes, and Artie in the Glee room
Adam Rose / Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Us Weekly reported that Dianna Agron was unhappy on the show and negotiated her character's exit after having wanted off for a while. Show reps said this was untrue, but there have been numerous instances of cast members having less-than-ideal experiences, and stars Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale revealed that some of the cast really hated being on the show. Though they denied that they hated it and wouldn't name names, they revealed that Season 5 was extremely difficult to film. Amber Riley also posted a TikTok showing a clip of herself on the show suggesting she was doing the role just as a job. She has also said that it was "not the most comfortable environment" as far as working with Lea Michele was concerned, following tweets from Samantha Ware that accused Michele of making the set "a living hell." Various cast members have corroborated this.

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